Okay, so todays blog post is a topic very personal to me, it’s also something I feel there isn’t enough awareness for. I was diagnosed with post-natal depression 3 weeks after giving birth to my little boy, I remember feeling so dissapointed and repulsed by myself and almost felt as if I wasn’t normal…after all I had just welcomed my new baby boy into the world and I still wasn’t happy?
Post natal depression Is a common condition and affects 1 in 10 women within a year after giving birth. Common symptoms of post-natal depression include;
- a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give you pleasure
- lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
- trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
- feeling that you’re unable to look after your baby
- problems concentrating and making decisions
- loss of appetite or an increased appetite (comfort eating)
- feeling agitated, irritable or very apathetic (you “can’t be bothered”)
- feelings of guilt, hopelessness and self-blame
- difficulty bonding with your baby with a feeling of indifference and no sense of enjoyment in his or her company
- frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby; these can be scary, but they’re very rarely acted upon
- thinking about suicide and self-harm
One thing i’ve noticed is that for some reason in todays society we find mental health a tabooed topic. It seems when it comes to mental health there are 3 types of people, the first are the people who have no sympathy for mental health and still don’t recognise mental health conditions as a genuiene medical problem…yet are usually the same people who take a week of work for a cold yet critisize people who get signed off work for mental health related issues. The second are the pactronising people, now these people have good intentions however can be a bit too full on…they will usually make comments along the lines of “go for a walk every day” or “include more vitimins into your diet, it worked wonders for my friends hairdresser” *insert eye roll here* and lastly the third group of people are the empathizers they’re people you need to keep close to you, they’re people who will help you the most. They’re usually people who have suffered mental health issues themselves they tend to be the most understanding people around you.
Now the next bit, is the bit that I might struggle with. My battle with mental health started at 14-15 when I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I would regularly take overdoses consisting of; paracetamol, ibuprofen, morphiene ( in the form of oramorph), tramadol, sleeping tablets and beta-blockers ( a heart tablet to slow your heart rate)…i would take up to 30 tablets when I attempted to overdose in hope that when I went to bed, I wouldn’t wake up. I am incredibly lucky to come away without any health problems as a result of my overdoses. At one point when I was 15 my depression was so bad I had given up on overdoses…my final attempt I remember so vividly, everyone in my house was at work and I had got in from school and started searching my house…I was looking for somewhere to hang myself, I had written a letter to my family…I had everything I needed but I came to find myself in tears extreamly distressed…not over the situation but over the fact there was nowhere I could hang myself…I found myself ringing samaritans (who were the most amazing people ever, and stopped me doing something which now seems incredibly stupid) at just 15 I was a young girl who had, had enough of the world she was in and didn’t feel things would get better, however eventually my symptoms improved (with anti-depressents) and I started to get back on track.
I didn’t have the easiest childhood, and prehaps this had a big impact on my mental health as I saw things no girl as young as 7 should see or be a part of, I was exsposed to a lot of violence and abuse. I don’t hate my parents for my childhood and the things that were a part of my life, however I don’t think I can ever forgive them for the things I saw as it has left mental scars which will never fade and will always be with me in life.
4 Years on and 5 days into my little boy being in the world I found myself getting teary, angry and anxious, I found myself thinking people were judging every desicion I made as a mum. At 2 weeks enough was enough, I found myself getting worse and it felt like it was a bit more than just “baby blues”, I arranged to see my GP and expressed my concern that I could have been suffering from depression again, I didn’t want to go out, I had lost interest in a lot of things and was just generally miserable. She said she believed I was suffering from post-natal depression and perscribed me setraline which at 20 years old, was one of the few anti-depressants I hadn’t been perscribed. I was on a basic dose of 50mg.
2 weeks into my new anti-depressants and symptoms were getting worse, I had developed this disgusting temper and found myself lashing out at my loved ones, the people who meant the most to me (my parner and in-laws who are very much the most important people in my life) I was pushing away and found myself one night after lashing out laying in bed, imagining throwing myself off of a cliff, of course the only diference from now to when I was 15 and attempting suicide is that now I had a baby boy, who I would never leave to grow up without his mum…My mother in-law(ish) came with me to the doctors to support me as she is one of few people I confide in and know I can be completely honest with, I trust her with so much (after all she has watched me give birth) I was so scared to tell my GP how I was really in feeling in fear they would take my baby boy away from me (my GP did tell me I shouldn’t worry as my baby was safe with me) she proceeded to up my tablets to 100mg and comforted me.
Another 2 weeks on, I’m starting to feel improvements, my mood swings aren’t as bad and i’m not lashing out at my loved ones anymore. I still find it upsetting that at 20 years of age I have been on most of the main anti-depressants avalible in the UK, however this is the deck of hands i’ve been given and depression is likely to be a condition that i continue to battle with in my life and is a part of me, but with the right support i’ll get back on the right track, PND is a common illness and if you are suffering from any post-natal mental health condition then please confide in someone, seek help and trust yourself.